Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets: Predictions, Odds, and Roster Notes

WSN Picks: Houston Rockets defeat Los Angeles Lakers

How to Watch

What: Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets

Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

When: Saturday, 18 January 2020, 8:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ABC | 710 AM ESPN / 1330 AM ESPN DEPORTES, 790 KBME & 740 KTRH / 850 KEYH & 101.7 FM

Los Angeles Lakers (Away)

Head Coach: Frank Vogel {All-Time 337-299 | IND, ORL, LAL}

Season Record: 33-8

Projected Starting Five: (G) Avery Bradley – (G) Danny Green – (F) LeBron James – (F) Kyle Kuzma – (C) Javale McGee

Top Performers:

  • (F) Anthony Davis – 35.2 MPG | 27.1 PPG | 9.4 RPG | 2.6 BPG
  • (F) LeBron James – 34.9 MPG | 25.4 PPG | 10.9 APG | 7.7 RPG
  • (F) Kyle Kuzma – 24.4 MPG | 12.9 PPG | 3.8 RPG | .342 3P%

The Los Angeles Lakers are still far from being caught at the top of the Eastern Conference. Currently owning a 33-8 record, the closest teams to them – the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets – are behind by a whole 4.5 games.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, they are coming off of a loss to the Orlando Magic. Complacency took over the minds of the Lakers in that match, which stopped them from overtaking their opponents after coming back from a 21 point deficit.

Los Angeles now takes on one of the most dangerous teams in the Western Conference in the Houston Rockets. Not only are they adept at scoring, but they may also even be more talented offensively than LA. The Lakers’ spine will be tested this time out.

Houston Rockets (Home)

Head Coach: Mike D’Antoni {All-Time 654-513 | DEN, PHX, NYK, LAL, HOU}

Projected Starting Five: (G) Russell Westbrook – (G) James Harden – (F) Ben McLemore – (F) PJ Tucker – (C) Clint Capela

Season Record: 26-14

Top Performers:

  • (G) James Harden – 37.1 MPG | 37.2 PPG | 7.5 APG | 6.2 RPG
  • (G) Russell Westbrook – 35.4 MPG | 24.8 PPG | 7.8 RPG | 7.2 APG
  • (C) Clint Capela – 33.6 MPG | 14.5 PPG | 14.5 RPG | 1.7 BPG

The Houston Rockets have been their regular up and down selves this season and now find them in the bottom half of the Western Conference playoff race. With a record of 26-14, the Rockets are clawing at the Clippers who have a 1.5 game lead over them in fourth.

We saw a tough night for the Rockets against the Portland Trail Blazers. A game in which they lost by ten due to a poor second quarter from Houston. While defence is not their priority, they showed that sometimes their offence just isn’t enough.

When they take on the Lakers they are facing a talented two-way side. Westbrook and Harden are givens for quality efforts, but their supporting cast must show value if they hope to take down LeBron James’ side.

What’s At Stake?

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets have met 220 times in the history of their regular-season series. In 192 matches, the Lakers lead the Rockets 115-77.

A win for the Los Angeles Lakers would pad their lead at the top of the Western Conference.

A win for the Houston Rockets would bring them within a game of the LA Clippers who occupy fourth in the Western Conference.

Questions to answer

Can the Los Angeles Lakers focus win the game from the start?

How will James Harden and his sneakers react to the Lakers’ defensive schemes?

We are going to compare the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

Sometimes Even the Best Need Help

LeBron James is undoubtedly one of the greatest to ever step on a basketball court. In his last match against the Magic, he was excellent, but it wasn’t enough to send them over the youthful Eastern Conference threats.

James contributed 19 points and 19 assists in a losing effort without the efforts of Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo. While the starters disappointed for most of the game, it was the reserves that propped up the play of the team.

Quinn Cook, Troy Daniels, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined for 56 points off of the bench. More than making up for the combined 17 points effort of starters Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, and Avery Bradley. They’ll need more of the same from their bench against the Rockets.

What Kind of Defence Will Harden See?

James Harden has faced it all this season. As one of the NBA’s best scorers, his ability has forced coaches to draw up incredibly unique defensive schemes to try and best him. Most times it didn’t matter. Against the Blazers, he was invisible.

Harden put up a quiet 13 points in a loss to the Blazers, but more surprisingly only shot the ball 12 times. He only made three field goals on the evening, as his teammates were asked to fill the void.

The Lakers are so talented on both sides, Harden likely won’t see anything wild guarding him. Unfortunately, he will have to overcome two of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders in Danny Green and Avery Bradley.

Kuzma Woes

The Los Angeles Lakers took a big gamble this summer when they acquired Anthony Davis. But it was the player that stayed with the Lakers during the exchange that is intriguing people across the league. Kyle Kuzma’s name is in every trade mention, but his current cold streak is giving people second guesses.

Over his last two matches, in the absence of Anthony Davis, Kuzma has struggled. He is averaging 7.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists on 30.4% from the field and he’s not his a three-point shot. He will surely come around, but against tight defences, he’s shown he isn’t entirely ready.

Against the Rockets his offence will be essential. Not only is he a capable shooter from deep, but Kuzma’s size is a benefit against the small-ball Rockets. To beat Houston’s hard-charging offence, the Lakers will need Kuzma to fire right back.

Can the Rocket Survive With an Eight-Man Lineup?

Don’t get me wrong, the Houston Rockets are clearly good enough to overcome all obstacles. But fatigue looks to be wearing on the veteran side, especially since Mike D’Antoni doesn’t seem to trust more than eight players at a time.

In their last game only Eric Gordon, Danuel House, and Austin Rivers saw significant minutes off of the bench. They combined for an insignificant 29 points, the brunt of which coming from Gordon.

The Lakers don’t boast incredible depth themselves. But their playmaking has its reserves on a heater as of late. If Harden and Westbrook can’t get teammates involved, it’ll be a quick night for the Rockets.

Los Angeles Lakers Roster Notes

(G) Alex Caruso – 15 Jan 2020 – Day To Day (Concussion) – Caruso left Wednesday’s (Jan 15) game and did not return.

(F) Anthony Davis – 15 Jan 2020 – Day To Day (Gluteus Maximus) – Davis did not play in Wednesday’s game (Jan. 15) against the Magic.

(G) Rajon Rondo – 15 Jan 2020 – Day To Day (Finger) – Rondo did not play in Wednesday’s game (Jan. 15) against the Magic.

(C) DeMarcus Cousins – 1 Jan 2020 – Out (Knee) – Cousins is starting to work out and the team has not ruled out that he will return to action this season as he recovers from a torn ACL, according to a report from Brandon Robinson of Heavy.com.

Houston Rockets Roster Notes

(C) Nene Hilario – 22 Nov 2019 – Out (Abductor) – Nene is still away from the team and there is currently no timeline for his return, according to Vincent Sung of Clutch Points.

(G) Gerald Green – 28 Oct 2019 – Out (Left Foot) – Houston Rockets G-F Gerald Green is expected to miss six months after having surgery, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

Head-to-Head: (G) Quinn Cook vs (G) Eric Gordon

Two sharpshooters come off the bench in hopes of spurring their team on to victory when the Rockets and Lakers face off.

Both coming off of excellent games, Eric Gordon and Quinn Cook hope to be the snipers that can make a difference for their teams.

(G) Quinn Cook (6-1, 179lb (185cm, 81kg) | Duke | 3 Years)

Season Age Team Games MP PTS REB AST FG% 3P%
19-20 26 LAL 27 13.2 5.7 1.4 1.3 .457 .370

Quinn Cook is a rarely used reserve for the Los Angeles Lakers. However he has proven that when called upon, he can be incredibly effective. Averaging only 5.7 points per game on the season, that number clips to 12.0 points per game when he plays at least 20 minutes in a match.

He is coming off of his best game of the season, as he shot 9-14 from the field in 25 minutes of play to contribute 22 points, 4 rebounds, and a steal in an almost-victory over the Magic. With Caruso and Rondo on the shelf, seeing more Cook is an inevitability.

(G) Eric Gordon (6-3, 215lb (190cm, 97kg) | Indiana | 11 Years)

Season Age Team Games MP PTS REB AST FG% 3P%
19-20 31 HOU 16 28.9 13.7 1.9 1.2 .352 .336

Eric Gordon’s volume is the same, but his efficiency has dropped off at this point in his career. He is exclusively a catch and shoot player, but has been known to catch fire at times. Hopefully, he can bottle his performance against the Trail Blazers and release it against the Lakers.

Gordon was a bright spot off the bench for the Rockets in their last match. He accounted for 20 of the reserve units 29 points and he knocked down six three-pointers. With the focus on Harden and Westbrook, Gordon needs to convert from three to punish defences.

Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets Predictions and Odds

The odds will be updated as they are made available. For tips on betting on the NBA check out our guide.

Why the Los Angeles Lakers Will Win

The Lakers need to get their defence sorted early if they hope to win this game. They fell behind against the Magic and didn’t have enough time to come back. Houston’s offence won’t allow a return that easily.

Why the Houston Rockets Will Win

The Houston Rockets will need contributions across the board. While they jack up a lot of threes, they will have to be efficient due to the sheer volume and the danger of the Lakers on the break. Defence has never been their priority.

WSN’s Pick

Home court favours the Rockets and with a number of Lakers players sidelined we may see a Los Angeles team that is overwhelmed by scoring.

WSN Picks: Houston Rockets defeat Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets Odds

The latest odds for the Lakers vs Rockets are provided by Unibet NJ, DraftKings Sportsbook, and 888Sport NJ.

Money Line

Sportsbook Lakers Rockets
Unibet NJ +107 -127
DraftKings +108 -127
888Sport NJ +107 -127

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